November 8, 2013 / 5:28 PM / in 4 years

Canada PM: foolish for foreign investment rules to be too clear

TORONTO (Reuters) - It would be foolish for Canadian rules on foreign investment to be too clear because Ottawa needs a certain amount of discretion when considering takeover bids, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday.

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa November 7, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Canada last year laid down strict limits on what kinds of investment foreign state-owned enterprises could make in the energy sector. Some potential investors, particularly in Asia, say they are now not sure what kinds of takeover bids would be allowed.

“When you are dealing with large state investors - foreign governments as the investor - I think it would be foolish for the Canadian government to provide absolute clarity. It is absolutely necessary, when the investor is a foreign government, for the government of Canada to be able to exercise its discretion and have direct conversations with those foreign investors,” Harper told a business audience in Toronto.

Reporting by Andrea Hopkins, writing by David Ljunggren; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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